Perhaps one of the hardest parts of studying is when you have to memorize mathematical formulas. This is something that almost all students face in their academic life, and therefore, we see so many of them looking for tips on how to remember formulas. But only memorizing a bunch of formulas to write for the exam next day is not always enough. You need to know how to memorize formulas not blindly, so that you really understand them, and that ensures in return that you will remember these formulas later when needed.
10 Best Tips on How to Remember Formulas
Don't Start Too Close to a Deadline
A deadline before an examination is not the right time to know how to remember formulas. You need to start beforehand when you are not under any stress or have any time limit. Start studying your formulas when you are completely relaxed, and when you can learn and study the most effectively - for some it is early in the morning, for others in the middle of the night. Choose the time when you are at your best, and when you can fully concentrate on the task at hand.
Remove All Distractions
You need to wholly concentrate on learning when you are trying to remember your formulas. The television is a distraction, so turn it off; so is a friend nearby, unless you are studying as a group. Hunger, thirst and tiredness can be distractions too; always make sure that you are feeling completely comfortable before you start.
Try to Familiarize with the Formulas Beforehand
Another reason for you to start ahead would be because you need more than a few days to know how to remember formulas properly. They are not something that you understand and memorize in one sitting, or in one day; rather, you would need a few days at least to remember and comprehend everything.
If possible, try to familiarize yourself with the formulas a few days earlier, i.e. while they were being taught in class, or before your classes begin. Just give the book or the chapter a read, even if you don’t understand the formulas; just a quick visual would make them a little recognizable later when you are attempting to memorize them.
Don't Try Them All at Once
Even if you are the type of genius who can finish the full syllabus in one night before the examination, don't try to do that if you want to know how to remember formulas. Formulas are not something to cram into your head in a single sitting.
Don’t try to learn all the formulas at once; this is a sure way to confuse them altogether. Rather, create a list of all the formulas that you have to learn, and start with two or three at one time. If you try and learn 10 or 20 formulas at the same time overnight, chances are you are going to mix them up during the exam, so this is not the right track to take in learning formulas.
Start by Writing Them down, Repeatedly
Just looking at the formulas for hours are not going to work; you have to start writing them down again and again until you find yourself completely familiar with the way it looks. This technique of writing something down to remember it is a technique a lot of people use - not only in learning mathematical formulas, but also in remembering new vocabulary.
Practice As Much As You Can
Practice your formulas as many times as possible - not only by writing them down, but in other ways too. Read them out loud to yourself or to a study partner. Repeat them to yourself before going to bed, and after you wake up if you need to! Watch videos about the derivation of the formulas, or read up about them. When you are determined to learn the formulas, you need to make it your priority. Write the formulas down on your steamy mirror after a hot shower if you think that might help!
Don't Just Memorize, but Understand
Don’t just memorize the formulas if you don't understand them at all - that's not the right way to remember formulas. Rather, you need to understand everything about the formulas, including the derivation methods, the uses, the structure of the formula, and how it fits into a mathematical problem.
Use Everyday Memory Techniques
We use a number of memory techniques every day in our life - to remember people's names, their phone numbers, to remember grocery and to-do lists. Use the same techniques to remember your mathematical formulas if you want to, i.e. by creating a story with all the characters of the formula or by visualizing the formula as a picture, etc.
Even though this is not a very effective idea when it comes to truly understanding a formula, it could help you visualize the formula momentarily while you try and make sense of what you are remembering.
Don't Look at Your References Too Much
When you are trying to write the formulas based on your memory, don't look at your references the moment that you get stuck. Think back to what you have learned and try to imagine what the formula is going to look like using your logic and understanding of the problem.
Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself
It is normal that you would forget the formulas you just learnt after you wake up the next morning. Don’t be too hard on yourself when that happens; if you are disheartened, you will lose the drive to try again. Don’t be discouraged; instead, just try again, until you have completely memorized the formula.